Sunday, 11 August 2013

The summer so far....

Most comments, discussions, mummy blogs, social media activity has been bombarded with aahhhh summer holidays. For those of us in NI, our summer holidays are 9 weeks long or 63 days, 1512 hours or 90720 minutes.

At the start of July, I was ready to pull my hair out with the prospect of this terrifying time but its hasn't been as manic as I thought.

I do admit that squeezing business meetings into mornings or afternoons, swapping flats and heels to dive from the office to the park has been a little tiring. Or the handing over £40 odd quid in one indoor activity per week has kind of made my eyes water. And I suppose that staying up late partly because it is light outside and partly in the blind hope that they will stay asleep past 6:30am has had its moments of crisis. Ok, I am lying its been CRAZY. I forgot everything, I put the tea bags in the fridge, I have nearly put moisturiser on my toothbrush and went to a business meeting in slippers then had a moment of horror when I thought I had lost the other high heel in my car.....I hadn't but I was late.

Though, I did have a number of reality checks when I realised that the weather has been good, I have had loads of help with the kids, I am not living in a 3rd world countries and this gripes those ladies or men would love to have rather than no food, clean water, democratic hell etc. I sat myself down, had a word with myself, smiled, realised that I have three gorgeous kids, a great husband, fab family & friends and core business people which I enjoy working with. Life is good, manic but good.......

Sunday, 12 May 2013

A week of realisation.....

So as I have referenced in an earlier blog I know I am 32 but in my head I am about mid-20s some of the time.

I started out the week with a bank holiday weekend with hubby away! This resulted in a furniture re-arrangement to give me a new 'project' and organising my sons 5th birthday party. Of course, he had to pick a Ben 10 theme because to pick a mainstream party character like spiderman which is in EVERY supermarket would just not be in my life! Ebay is was....

I got 'free' on Tuesday to go to work! I was so excited to have a coffee I could finish while warm and drive without fighting or moaning behind me. Was nice after 3 days of 'kiddies' things. I donned my sunglasses, had my high heels and suit on, feeling very hip & business like. I go onto the motorway and put on 'scream & shout', it was so nice to feel energised. I was dancing in the car and enjoying myself then I was driving alongside a van driver, I was all 'get me, all dolled up, trendy music...woohoo' then something happened, my mind decided to play tricks on me and I suddenly saw myself through his eyes. He saw an obviously 30 something, in a 7 seater mummy wagon aka people carrier with 3 car seats, a buggy, full of toys, half lollies and baby wipes all over the seats, dancing to a song which teenagers listen to. I looked like a wally!

Wednesday, I decided to put on my new coloured super skinny jeans..... they were fine until I got to buttoning them....after 3 babies, 2 c sections, I decided to take them back off very quickly! It was not a good look. By Thursday, I had started to wear flats to work as 2 whole days of heels wasn't good for me.

Friday came. Only last few hours before hubby was home and the misery oh sorry joy of a 5yr old birthday party loomed. I was on my way to a meeting. At my meeting, I was greeted with my 'client' (who is a friend) holding an envelope & magazines. My hubby and my cousin with help of family friends and even my accountant had organised to cancel all my appointments, book me a surprise massage, all the kids were being collected from school.....I was flabbergasted! It was incredible.

Knowing me so well, I got home. My laptop had been 'stolen' so I couldn't work, the house had been cleaned and tidied, there was chocolates, wine & lunch ready for me therefore I had no option but to watching telly and do nothing more!!

I immediately reached for my PJs poured myself a glass & chose Moulin Rouge to fall asleep to on the sofa too. It was pure bliss. My kids on arriving home, woke me up, I saw myself in the mirror, with 'bed' hair, un-matching PJs/dressing gown who was dying for a wee cup of tea.My mind had aged 10 years in a week. I was warm, comfy & wants a big mug of Nambarrie and I was really ok with being 32!!

Sunday, 14 April 2013

manic week results in childcare search....

So work has kinda of cropped on me! I started 2 little businesses and they seem to have taken off. Initially I was sort of playing at it then in the last few weeks its gone hectic. I have relented and decided to find childcare for the youngest.

Where do you begin? In Leeds, I just had one in nursery but as they are about £100 per day or something ridiculous I just cant afford it. In Qatar, I had a very lovely Phillipino lady (who subsquently ran away, thats another story!!!!), she lived with us so it was all easy enough. Now, I have to trail through profiles, reply to ads in gumtree which feels a little wrong since I normally buy furniture or nail extensions from it. Ask around the school but 'the good ones never have a space'. I decided to chance my arm and resort to my main addiction, Facebook. It gets me through most of my bored times, stalker fascination and definitely brings up more answers than none. Low and behold, I got a friend childminders then my friend magically appears on chat and said she would take her! It was like relief.

This week has been particularly hectic and has lead to the decision of a childminder. Briefly, my car broke down, I had to rent one. I went to collect it, no paper part of my licence. Mum drives back down to deliver it. I get car. Sunday, my daughter gets unbelievably bad tummy bug, queue no sleep for next 3 nights and a very unhappy little girl (to be expected). A very important client meeting on Monday morning, no sleep, tiny bright lime green corsa, not a good start. Bag client! (woohoo). Turn diary pages over to arrange 2nd meeting, client sees 'period' written on that page! CRINGE!

Tuesday, my car is still dead. I have to try and renew my hire car. The nice Indian lady didn't understand what I was asking for, partially from my probably squeaking voice with slurring due to sleep deprivation. Had to get new hire car. Deliver one, pick up other one. Go to 3 more meetings. Hot flushes during meetings due to cold (I have had for 2 weeks) and no sleep. I think a little snot came out too. Thursday, son is off sick so other son wont got to playgroup, hire car needs renewed again. My little girl is still feeling poorly and Justin's house has been to theme to my week (I think I hummed it in a lift in a clients building). Amongst heartfelt kiddies cries I go to a meeting, drive the wrong way around the car park in a very expensive golf club then park my tiny car amongst very expensive cars. I put my earrings on, shake myself. 
As I am walking to the front door, I remember perfume! I need it to cover the smell of sick, snot etc. My client is giggling on the way down the stairs 'got to get that perfume on eh?' Oh lord!

Friday comes and I think at home. no client meetings. Get house organised, set things out for the weekend. 3pm and my son develops an all over rash. I ring doc while balancing snacks, to be told to head to hospital, I head to emergency. En route I remember I haven't eaten anything, I am trying to keep my son calm. He is very sick on arrival, 10 mins after when we are called to Triage, he decides he is fine. (this happens every time!!!) We go home.

Friday night I haven't slept in 5 nights, I look back at the week and think how the hell did I get through that. I decide that things need to change. I need more childcare!!! a massage, a clone and a PA but a good friend has come to my rescue so that will do for now.

Friday, 18 January 2013

5, 4, 3 shortbread!

I actually can't mess this up (except to burn it) so I find it suitable for kids of all ages.....

5oz plain flour
4oz butter (now real butter no fake imitation's)
3oz castor sugar (or normal sugar, put it in a plastic bag and use roller pin to crush it)

Sieve the plain floor, I would suggest melting the butter in the microwave for 5-7 secs, add them together with the sugar. Mix as much as you or your little ones want!

Grab some butter in your hand, run it round a tin, bowl or something suitable for the oven and put it in at 180c/350f for about 20 mins but keep checking on it as it depends on the depth of the tin/bowl etc.

Add raisins or cinnamon or whatever you feel the need to or whatever is FUN too!


Thursday, 17 January 2013

Varied baby early months.....

I wish I knew then what I know now about motherhood and managing kids. It would have saved me so much worry, stress and sleepless nights! I suppose though you have to go through it to learn from it.

My kids have had slightly different upbringings so far so I thought I'd condense them!

First baby:
  • When feeding, they are breast feed with all the right postures and complete with a muslin square. Or bottle feed with constant worry over the product and you will probably use different bottles and attempt to ditch the dummy. Their nappy is changed to the feeding schedule. Weaning is done complete with Annabel Karmen & organic products/cereals. They fall, hurt themselves or cry, you panic check their temp, strip them check for rashes or marks and cuddle them until they are ok again or go straight to A&E. You worry when they are asleep. You have a changing bag that looks like a suitcase for a long weekend. You dont go out past 8pm for 6 months. When they start walking or crawling you can't contain your excitement. Their talking is the height of cuteness and you have a million photos of them, professional, on your screensaver, your phone maybe even a keyring. Their routine is sacred and you operate everything around it. The clothes are organised and possibly ironed (not me)
Second baby:
  • Breast or bottle feeding them in a hurry but sitting and complete with some sort of cloth. You scoop the right amount and continue to sterilise. The product for formula is the one you used last time, if they are a little sick, sure that happens. You love the dummy. Nappies are changed when you check them and they feel fat. Weaning is done via shortcuts. Make lots of the suitable foods and sure they will be ok with out a completely 'varied' diet. They fall hurt or cry, you check them and make sure they are ok. Give them calpol. You check them on your way out to a quick drink at the pub. Babysitter will be grand. You have a changing bag but as its for 2, it is the essentials only. When they crawl, walk or talk, you are excited but you've two to watch the newest thing so its worn a little thin. You have photos of them but mostly together cause you don't want to feel like you are favouring one. Their routine is a little more flexible due to school/playgroups. I find clothes which are closest to hand.
Third baby:
  • If you are awake throughout the feed it is a good start. You wipe the milk on your clothes and have no issue leaving the house like that. You are 99% sure the scoops are right or 99% sure of the time for the last breast feed. The formula is fine unless projectile vomiting. You change their nappy when its stinks or if you remember. Weaning it done through normal meals ie whatever the other two have and you are pretty sure Mcdonalds and chinese are ok, sure its bread, potatoes, rice and meat, right? They cry but you know now 'the cry' so 80% of the time you just look at them and say 'its ok' or just ignore them alll together. Give them calpol. You bring a nappy, wipes and a bottle/jar in your enlarged handbag and only go to places you can buy things if you need them. When they start crawling, walking or talking, you groan. Their routine is whatever it needs to be. If its mealtime and you have to go out, give them a cracker or breadstick! You may have a photo. In terms of clothes, a girl can wear blue, right?
I heard a funny comment from my friend she saw on facebook,
First baby eats dirt, you panic and rush to the doctor. Second baby eats dirt, you wipe it out with a baby wipe and keep an eye on them. Third baby eats dirt, you wonder do they need lunch. Fourth baby has dirt for lunch!

I stressed so much with my first baby, I was in tears, I didn't sleep properly, I ran myself ragged with baby groups assessing which were best etc. My second baby was a little easier but probably because I was less stressed. He went to various little classes but had a childminder and an old brother. With the most recent one, I still worry, I still check them before bed but I dont over complicate motherhood. If you love them, you spend time with them, you discipline them and you teach them and apologise if you think you are in the wrong, you are a good mum!

Monday, 14 January 2013

easy potty training steps.....

These are the steps which I used and was fairly succesful. That it I was only covered in poo twice, there was wee on one car seat, we had to stop at the side of the road in traffic and my toddler went to playgroup with wee on his trainers but a few days of stress and it worked.....

Ok.....ask her if he/she is ready....
There is no timescale....pushing they before will be stressful for you and her.

1. Take them to a shop make a big deal of buying the pants *she wants ie princess or whichever,
2. Let them buy her own potty too.
3. Buy stickers from somewhere (poundland etc) and let them decorate it.
4. Put potty in sitting room or somewhere it is seen all the time. (Later move it ...
to the bathroom)
5. For today and tomorrow no pants, see how successful it is if it isn't don't push them.
6. Take them with you to the toilet but don't pressurise them just let her see what's happening. If they have an older friend or cousin ask the, to do same.
7. Take a potty with you if going out but would try not to go out.
8. Ask them every 10 - 20 mins if she needs a wee wee etc....
9. Don't scold them Don't stress if it doesn't happen. Stop and try again another time.
10. Reward her with something little if she goes....
(ps 11. have wine in the house!)
There has also been suggestions of a sticker chart alot but honestly my kids dont understand that you only get one sticker so either I end up with a full tantrum and therefore the whole essence gets lost while my toddler is on the naughty step or in their room or they sneak back in, I go to make a cuppa find said child covered in stickers and the baby with one in her mouth.
There is also a suggestion which I thought was amusing which was the 'potty conga' personally that is way too much energy to do for urine and I would much rather sit beside them with my blackberry checking status to feel like I am 'talking' to other adults!

Sunday, 13 January 2013

I am 32 not 24

I am not sure if others feel the same but even know I live a typical life of a mummy, wife etc etc but I still think in my head I am way younger than I actually am. When I am around younger people or teenager, I feel I have to kind of fall into line with them and get them to think I am hip or really just not sad.

My sister (19) came to the house with her boyfriend & her friend. They had come to have a 'party' with my little ones and a sleepover. I decided I couldn't be bothered getting dressed up so I wore jeans and comfy boots, we walked up to the local bar, had some belinis (instead of my normal glass of red) so I could be 'cool'. We picked up some champagne and hit the indian. I had 2 bellinis, was in 5 yr old jeans and a 'warm' jacket so I came into the restaurant, fairly squiffy, red faced from the wind and I looked like I was going a forest for a walk rather than a romantic meal with my husband. After dinner, I decided it was time to go home, we had a long night, my feet hurt and my PJs were calling me. This was at 930pm!

We got home and all the 'young ones' were there. As I had too much champagne and raspberry bellinis, I started into this whole conversation to try and make them think I was hip. The conversation wasn't even vaguely in this direction but I randomly said 'oh yeah armin van buuren, I had a rat called armin after him' then carried on talking about the big nightclubs I used to go to 10 years ago (which I didn't even like, my boyfriend did), about drugs that people were taken there, then started talking about technics and mixers (turntables for DJs). Seriously even at 19/20 I had absolutely no interest in any of it, I was generally at the local gay bar with my mates cause they played 'I am what I am' and 'so macho' but I thought in my drunken, old lady head that they would think this was funky and I would then be the 'legend' older sister. Nope, they were much more interested in Match of the Day and lots of foreign footballers of which I know approximately none. I was sitting beside these young folk knowing I was wearing bridget jones pants and wondering why I was awake past 10pm!

The next day I was remembering all what had happened, I text my sister and said 'Please stop me next time, I am not cool and I shouldn't try to be' I text her boyfriend and apologised trying to be cool. I was laughing to myself that I was there trying to impress these youngsters that I still had it, they were looking at me seeing a mid-thirties woman who was drunk on 5 glasses of fizzy wine, curled up on the sofa complete with slippers, finishing her big night out at 930pm and talking about night clubs that arent even open anymore!!

Note to self: I am not down with the kids & I am 32 not 24.

Erratic or challenging sleepers.......this is my bible!

Saturday, 12 January 2013

EASY PEASY dinner!

EASY PEASY dinner for little ones

I find this, the easiest but most liked dinner I make. Plus I feel like I am actually cooking rather than warming!

I change the mushrooms for peas or sweetcorns! Pasta to fun kids like Penna so they can 'whistle' through it.

Take 10 mins to make and add garlic bread for a 'home cooked' meal!!

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Terrible twos should be called the god awful, drink much wine 2's: When the terrible twos are mentioned, people don...

Terrible twos should be called the god awful, drink much wine 2's:

When the terrible twos are mentioned, people don...
: When the terrible twos are mentioned, people dont comprehend the actually day to day hatefulness of it all. Take today for example, so ...

When the terrible twos are mentioned, people dont comprehend the actually day to day hatefulness of it all. Take today for example, so I decided to be stricter on my boys this week as they got away with blue murder over Christmas. With so many visitors, I didn't want to continually look the demon mum so I put my public mummy persona on as much as I could.

So I asked my toddler to go and get some pants from his drawer. We live in a bungalow and it is the bottom drawer. He goes into the hallway and I am impressed. A few seconds later, I walk out, he hasn't got past the book shelves. He is sitting, pantless, on the floor, reading! I say 'Ok, go and get your pants from your drawer'. He looked at me with distain and continues to read. I take a large deep breath 'You need to go and get your pants or we cannot go out'. Again, he glares at me and looks down at his book. Ok, so now I get physical. I know that a lot of mums have more patience and 'talk to their child' or use 'alternative methods' but I am just not that mum. I am impatient in most things in life and unfortunately motherhood has not been much different.

I take his hand, haul him up and walk him to his room. 'Now' I say 'can you please get pants from your drawer' (pointing at it). He looks up at me, lips pursed and his cheeks are getting a little redder. This is when I know its the start of something big. As I actually have to go out to the school I know I need to deal with this.

'Right, I am going to count to 3 if you haven't got pants, I am closing the door and you can stay in your room' Needless to say, I am back in the living room with a toddler screaming in his room. My littlest one is so used to me now she doesn't even fizzle. I am breathing and trying not to listen to the incessant cries of stubborness coming from his bedroom. I go back in 5 mins (which is probably 45 seconds in reality) and repeat my statement. Again, I am back in the living room with the din of snotty sniffs and tearless crying. The third & fourth times, I wont bore you with.

Then, of course, you get the 'rage'. You know the one. Realistically, if you looked at yourself in a outer body experience, you would be ashamed and consider an exorcist (for yourself) all at the same time. He is not wining this one I have screaming in my head. Let him away with an inch, he will take a mile. (seriously he is 2 but it doesn't stop me). I stomp down to the room, I lift my toddler covered in snot who is trying to hug me (this is the most recent tactic from my little one aka CIA manipulation consultant). I march him over to the drawer. I open said drawer. I push him toward it. He is still looking at me with that dead eye stare. He knows I know that he will try and break me but I am determined. I lift his hand into the drawer. He is standing pantless, facing his cupboard with two hands in the drawer, full of pants. His hands are like bricks, lifeless, just laying on top of all the material. I am repeating over and over again 'get a pair of pants from the drawer', I am like an LP when the needle sticks. I can't believe it but one finger twitches, then a hand glides toward one pair. His brain obviously realising he actually wants spiderman and not those crappy mothercare dinosaurs. He pinches them and he finally LIFTS a pair. I can't believe it. He lifts a pair out of the drawer. I tell him to bring them to the living room and off he skips, bum on display, with a smile on his face!

Seriously 30 mins, this took us. 30 mins which will be my excuse for getting the red wine out as this is not the only trifle I will deal with today. 30 mins for a pair of pants! Some people would say would have not been easier just to get them yourself but with little ones you will never win the war but this little battle was my victory!